Arteaga Stakes Claim To Title Shot, SBG Idaho Perfect At Bellator 205

SBG MMA athletes were victorious in front of their hometown crowd on Friday, September 21, when Bellator 205 touched down at CenturyLink Arena. All four athletes on the card that night recorded submission victories, making it truly a night to remember!!!

The night began with women’s flyweight contender Veta Arteaga (5-2 MMA, 4-2 BMMA) taking on Bellator Kickboxing Champion Denise Kielholtz (2-2 MMA, 2-1 BMMA). The action was face paced from the beginning, with Arteaga taking the center, pressuring forward with good head movement. An Arteaga combination moved her to the clinch where Kielholtz quickly attempted a throw, and Arteaga jumped on her back, securing one hook. Kielholtz managed to avoid the other hook and shucked Arteaga off and back to the ground, where she stepped away, allowing Arteaga to stand. Back on the feet, Arteaga was again the aggressor, measuring with her jab and feinting level changes. Kielholtz slid out of range, catching Arteaga with several clean punches as she stepped forward. This process repeated itself a few times before Arteaga hustled Kielholtz against the cage. Establishing head position and a strong underhook, Arteaga peppered Kielholtz with knees to the thigh before Kielholtz was able to circle away and exit with a left hook to the head. More pressure from Atreaga as Kielholtz looked to counter. Arteaga shot in clean on a double leg, but Kielholtz kept her base and circled Arteaga back to the cage before again exiting with a left hook. An Arteaga single leg attempt was defended by Kielholtz, who again stood up and disengaged from the ground fight. The final two minutes saw both take turns as the aggressor and landing solid shots. 

Round two began with Arteaga again pressuring forward with head movement, footwork, and feints. Arteaga moved to the clinch several times, and pushed Kielholtz to the cage. Kielholtz defended well, but was beginning to slow down. A flurry from both fighters near the cage saw Arteaga drop low and secure a double leg, lifting Kielholtz in the air and bringing her down hard near the center. Arteaga postured up to break the closed guard of Kielholtz. Arteaga transitioned from side control, to north-south, then back to half guard, as Kielholtz kept moving on bottom. A bridge and roll attempt from Kielholtz turned into momentary back control for Arteaga, but she was unable to secure the hooks and Kielholtz returned to her feet. A few more exchanges occur before Kielholtz dropped levels and secured a double leg of her own, sitting Arteaga down at the base of the cage. Arteaga immediately stood with Kielholtz remaining pinned to her hips. Arteaga snuck her arm around the neck of Kielholtz, searching for the standing guillotine choke. Kielholtz was safe for the moment, but Arteaga used her hips against the cage to make space and adjust to a high-elbow grip, followed by a bicep grip. The lock was tight and Kielholtz was forced to tap as CenturyLink Arena erupted in cheers! Now on a two fight win streak against a former two-time title challenger in Emily Ducote, and now Bellator’s Kickboxing champion, Arteaga used her time on the mic, post-fight, to campaign for a shot at Bellator Women’s Flyweight Champion, Ilima-lei McFarlane. Congrats on another fantastic performance Veta, you deserve that title shot!!!

While the remaining three SBG athletes were moved to the post-lims (undercard bouts moved to the end due to television time constraints), their performances were certainly main-card worthy! Up first was Andrew Cruz (5-3 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) taking on Nathan Stolen (7-4 MMA, 0-1 BMMA). Both fighters came out aggressive, with Cruz landing the cleaner, stronger punches. A Stolen punch caught Cruz off balance, but he quickly recovered. More hard punches landed for Cruz, the lead right and left hook being his main weapons of choice. A Stolen combination is countered beautifully by a Cruz double leg. Stolen was able to sweep briefly, but Cruz immediately re-swept and settled into Stolen’s halfguard. Cruz landed hard punches, forcing Stolen to move to full guard. Cruz postured and stood, breaking the guard and passing to side control. From there Cruz moved to north-south and framed up a kimura grip, before falling back into an armbar. Stolen managed to defend the armbar briefly and lifted Cruz to slam him. Cruz countered the slam perfectly and swept Stolen to his back, before stretching out the trapped arm and forcing the tap!  Congrats Andrew on a beautiful performance, easily your best one yet!!!

Up next was Kyle Frost (3-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) versus David Rangel (0-2 MMA, 0-1 BMMA). Frost opened with a strong jab to the body followed by an overhand right against the cage that stunned Rangel. Frost immediately dropped to a double and hoisted Rangel in the air before slamming him down in side control. Rangel maintained control of Frost’s neck, so Frost stepped over into mount and postured up to rain down hard punches. Rangel was forced to give up his back and Frost quickly secured both hooks. From there it was just a matter of time. Rangel did well to protect his neck for quite awhile, but Frost remained patient, alternating between punches and choke attempts before eventually securing the fight-ending rear naked choke! Congrats on another dominant victory Kyle, the future is bright!!!

Our final athlete of the night was Stephen Stirewalt (2-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) toeing the line against Joe Aguirre (2-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA). Stirewalt came out aggressive, punching into the clinch and slamming Aguirre on his head with a beautiful back arch throw. Aguirre recovered well, however, using the momentum of the throw to return to standing. Stirewalt again clinched, but caught Aguirre with an inadvertent knee to the groin. After a brief rest, Aguirre was recovered and the fight resumed. Stirewalt moved into the clinch again behind strong punches. More knees followed before Stirewalt transitioned nicely to a single leg and side control. Smooth transitions to knee on belly, mount, and back control soon followed. Eating hard punches from behind, Aguirre rolled back into mount, then again into back control where Stirewalt caught the neck and drew the tap! Congrats Stephen on your best performance yet, we look forward to watching you continue your growth as a martial artist and athlete!!!

As always, we want to thank all the coaches, training partners, and Tribe members who support our athletes through everything! The fight game is a tough business, but having a superior support system can give you the extra edge over the competition. This was certainly a night to remember, and it took a complete team effort to accomplish! Viva SBG!!!